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Being ranked number 1 is good right?

So you have a great looking web site – well, maybe you’re not quite there yet – but you are ready to rock the Internet with your brilliant products or services. All that you need to do now is make sure your site is ranked number 1 on Google.

Right?

Well not necessarily...

We are all told that being number 1 on Google is the ticket to riches. You will have even received a marketing email or seen an advert by a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company guaranteeing you top position or your money back.

Be number 1 on Google and:

  • you will be found by customers
  • people in their droves will visit your web site
  • the only way is up for your business.

But the truth is being top of the Google tree offers no guarantees for your business. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people excited that their business web site has made top spot on Google (or they are listed on Page 1) for this, that or the other.

That is not to rubbish their claims. In most cases they are, but that is not the whole story. We had a new client come to us recently in exactly this situation. They had spent a lot of money on their site, had lots of good content and now, with their web site positioned first and second from over 50,000 search results, everything was set up for their business to grow. But they waited, and waited, yet hardly anyone came. So what happened? OK.

I ought to come clean… despite the headline to this blog post, being number 1 on Google can be extremely good for your business, but you need to understand that being number 1 doesn’t guarantee anything. In the case of our client, as is the case with many who are proudly listed on Page 1 of Google yet receive little traffic to their site, the problem was not to do with them being there but the fact that nobody searched on the term for which they were listed top. If that is what is happening to you, then that is why being listed on top for a term that no-one searches on can be bad for your business.

The likelihood is, just like our client, you could be sitting there with days and weeks passing expecting visitors to come to your site, when all the time they are going to your competitor’s web site. So, what’s the answer? The key to your web site being found is to optimise your web pages for the right search terms not just any terms, that is, not just the words and phrases you think people are searching on.

Here are some dos and don’ts for optimising for the right search terms:

  1. Check out the terms your competitors are using but don’t assume they are using the right terms either. You need to do some more research.
  2. Ask some trusted friends what words or phrases they would use to search for your products and services, but don’t feed them with suggestions. Allow them to decide themselves.
  3. Having gathered some suggestions, try them in Google’s free keyword tool. This will give you some useful suggestions based on the words you enter and will also give you an idea of how many searches use those terms per month both nationally and globally.
  4. Don’t optimise a single web page for more than one term, but do optimise for terms that include more than one word. A single term can contain several words that people will be searching for, e.g. ‘luxury hotel breaks’ will be indexed by Google for that term but also for ‘hotel breaks’, ‘luxury hotel’ and 'luxury breaks'.
  5. If your business operates mainly locally or within a defined geographic region then consider including a city, county, state or country in the term, e.g. ‘luxury hotel breaks uk’.
  6. Once you have decided on your search term, you can then set to work on optimising your web page. There is a lot you can do to refine this, but you must as a minimum do some basic optimisation. Essentially, you need to make sure your search term is represented in the Title metatag of your web page (this is what appears in the caption bar at the top of your browser) as well as the Description metatag (which can be more descriptive).

There will be more on metatags and SEO another time, but for now Happy SEOptimising! But if you are stuck not being sure what to do next, then please visit our SEO Services page to find out more.

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